Uncategorized - 15th February 2017
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A guide to dogs at parkrun

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For those runners and walkers who wish to take their dogs along to a parkrun, please always remember to check the home pages of parkruns you intend to run with a dog. There are several parkruns in South Africa where dogs are not allowed.

 

Well-behaved dogs on leads are welcome at many parkruns. We ask parkrunners with dogs to abide by the following rules:

 

- One dog per runner at our 5k events.
- Most of our events do allow runners with dogs but there are some events which do not.
- Dogs should be kept under firm control, on a short lead or a harness with a short lead, and extreme care taken to avoid tripping other runners.
- Dogs should not be registered. Any registration allocated to a dog, or any other animal will be deleted and any associated results will be removed.
- parkrunners are responsible for the welfare of their own dog
- Please clean up after your dog
- Dog owners not keeping to the rules will not be scanned at the finish
- On the matter of courtesy at parkruns I would like to make a heartfelt plea to our parkrunners to always consider others. This is particularly the case at some of our larger parkruns where we have had a few complaints that slow walkers and parkrunners with dogs often get in the way of the fast runners. parkrun is never going to be similar to major races where there are seeded start areas and elite runners’ starts. (Every parkrunner is equal) but we would like to ask our slower runners and walkers to line up nearer the rear at a parkrun start.

 

Exercise for a dog should be a way of life but it is necessary to be aware of some important facts before taking your pet with you.

 
Some tips for taking your dog on a parkrun:

 
- If you bring a dog to a parkrun – you must run at the dogs pace and limit
- Make sure your dog enjoys running – watch how they react because they will tell you – be aware and sensitive to what they are saying.
- Dogs want to please their owners, so when a dog shows signs of stopping take it seriously.
- Start with play sessions of 30 – 60 minutes and short, local loops before you take them to a parkrun.
- Watch for signs and be receptive to your dog’s cues – YOUR DOG KNOWS WHAT IT NEEDS.
- Communicate – talk to your dog – tell them they are going for a walk so that they can stretch and drink.
- Running in a group can be distracting – introduce them slowly to feel comfortable with a large group of people. – Talk to them whilst walking to calm them down if they are anxious about faster runners passing them.
- Make sure that there is always clean water available for them to drink, especially in hot weather.
- Carry plastic bags for their poo. That is another responsibility you choose to take on if you bring your dog running.
- They should have consistent exercise during the week – they can’t just be taken to do a 5 km parkrun when you feel like it – they need training just like you.
- Dogs don’t need to wear jackets in winter when running.

 
Information that no one ever tells you about your puppy:

 
- Puppies do not have the muscle tone to run long distances – they must finish growing before they can run long distances.
- Play and go on shorter walks with your puppy because they need training … but NOT walking or running 5 km.
- Small breed puppies can run 1.5 km at a slow pace from the age of at least 8 months.
- Remember, your puppy will tell you when they are ready to stop – listen and do not push them beyond their own limit.
- Large breed puppies only stop growing between 18 and 24 months. If you run them too early their bones and joints will be damaged for life.
- Train your puppy to be prepared for parkruns – all ages, bicycles, strollers, cars and leads.

 
Dogs capable of running

 

  • Tough miniature pincher
  • Pointer
  • Fox terrier
  • Husky (winter is best – summer is hot for them)
  • Labrador (thick coats so in summer they must be able to swim)
  • Setter
  • Belgian Shepherd
  • Poodles
  • Jack Russell
  • Border Collie
  • Ridgeback
  • Whippets
  • Airedale
  • Greyhound
  • Malamute (prefers cold weather)
  • Dalmatian
  • Labradoodle
  • Weimaraner
  • Springer spaniel

Dogs that should walk only or stay at home:

  • Small breed puppies under 8 months that have not done consistent exercise
  • Large breed puppies under 18 – 24 months
  • Short-nosed dogs like pugs, bulldogs, mastiffs, Boston terriers – they have breathing problems and overheat as a result

Thank you to the vets and nurses at Bryanston Veterinary Hospital for reading and editing this information.

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Adri Venter

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